Campus News

Some face-to-face classes continue as other Texas schools opt for online instruction

Gerald Sastra/The Cougar

Gerald Sastra/The Cougar

The University’s Plan B for the coronavirus still holds face-to-face courses for the spring semester while other Texas schools have begun this semester online.

The University of Texas and Rice University are some of the Texas schools beginning the spring term online. Rice’s surge of online courses is due to the increasing coronavirus cases in the Houston area.

“The University continually assesses its operations,” UH spokesperson Shawn Lindsey said. “If necessary, we are prepared to quickly adapt our instruction and go fully remote, but that is the not the case right now.”

Plan B now has the majority of students working remotely. This can also include some University faculty and staff, though some exceptions are made to those who will not work remotely.

President Renu Khator hoped to hold more in-person classes before the spring semester began, she said in a statement on Jan. 13.

“In the wake of the current spike in infections, we pledge to remain flexible and compassionate in our plans for the spring semester,” Khator said.

Texas set a record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations at the start of the new year. A vaccine expert told KHOU Houston that Harris County needs to aim for 10,000 vaccinated people a day as a step towards everything going back to normal.

Along with Rice, UH has begun COVID-19 testing on-campus with a new kiosk.

UH contact tracers have found no evidence of COVID-19 transmission in any classrooms, Lindsey said.

The spring semester thus far has been operating the same as the past fall semester with class formats such as Hyflex, Hybrid, online synchronous and online asynchronous. Approximately 20 percent of spring classes offer some kind of face-to-face option.

“Course delivery options in the spring prioritize student choice, accommodate health and safety
concerns and allow the University to make rapid adjustments should a COVID-19 resurgence
require a return to full-remote operations,” Lindsey said.

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